Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies
It’s completely normal for your dog to scratch once in a while – we all do it. But if your dog seems to be scratching frequently, or if you notice other symptoms like dry skin or hair loss, it could be something more than just the occasional itch.
Skin allergies in dogs are more common than you might realize, and they could be linked to a surprising cause – your dog’s diet. Food allergies in dogs typically present with skin-related symptoms which can be a little bit confusing at first.
Keep reading to learn more about skin allergies in dogs and how to choose the right dog food top treat them.
You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for skin allergies.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
Understanding Skin Allergies in Dogs
When you think of food allergies and the related symptoms, you probably think of digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In dogs, however, food allergies most commonly present with skin problems like frequent scratching, sores and hot spots, hair loss, dull coat condition, excessive shedding, and recurrent ear infections.
Dogs can develop allergies to any food ingredient, but they are most commonly triggered by corn, wheat, chicken, beef, soy, and dairy. Many dogs are also sensitive to grains and GMO ingredients. The key to treating your dog’s skin allergies is to find a food that doesn’t contain the offending ingredient and that includes plenty of skin-supporting nutrients.
Here are some of the things to look for in a dog food for skin allergies:
- Quality Ingredients. One of the biggest causes of skin problems in dogs is an unhealthy diet, often from low-quality ingredients and artificial additives. Look for a recipe that lists a quality protein first with digestible carbohydrates, healthy fats, and no artificial additives or fillers.
- Novel Proteins. A novel protein is simply one your dog hasn’t had before. Switching your dog to a recipe with a novel protein my help relieve skin allergies so your dog can heal.
- Essential Fatty Acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids like DHA and EPA are an essential part of any dog’s diet but are particularly important for skin and coat health.
- Supplements. In addition to protein and essential fatty acids, your dog needs a blend of vitamins and minerals in its diet for skin support. Fresh fruits and vegetables are natural sources of key nutrients but chelated minerals and probiotics are beneficial additions to look for as well.
Keeping each of these things in mind, now it’s time to learn how to choose the best dog food for skin allergies. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies
The best place to start when choosing a dog food for skin allergies is to consider your dog’s basic nutritional needs. All dogs need a minimum of 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat in their diet – more when they are puppies – to maintain lean muscle mass and to fuel their metabolisms.
Protein is the most important nutrient for dogs and should come from high-quality animal sources. Keep in mind, however, that skin allergies are often caused by allergic reactions to common proteins such as chicken and beef, so you may want to choose something less common like fish or game meat. You may also want to choose a less common or grain-free carbohydrate to reduce the risk for allergies – sweet potatoes, legumes, and other vegetables are good options.
Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy but, more importantly, it nourishes your dog’s skin and coat. Your dog needs a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the best sources are animal-based. Look for things like chicken fat and salmon oil with plant-based sources like flaxseed and sunflower oil for supplementation.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for skin allergies.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Skin Allergies
Understanding what causes skin allergies in dogs is the first step toward choosing the right dog food to treat them. In addition to choosing a dog food that is unlikely to trigger your dog’s allergies, you should also choose one that contains skin-supporting nutrients like essential fatty acids.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for skin allergies that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?
There is no hard and fast answer to this question because every dog is different. How much you feed your dog depends largely on its breed, size, and age. Puppies and small breed dogs need to be fed more often than large breed dogs to sustain their growth and fast metabolisms. Older dogs need fewer calories to prevent obesity, and all dogs need at least two meals a day.
The best way to determine how much to feed your dog is to check the feeding recommendations on the package. These are decided by your dog’s age and weight, so as long as you are feeding a dog food made for your dog’s size (think small breed versus large breed dog food), these recommendations should be fairly accurate. Just keep an eye on your dog’s weight and condition to make sure he’s not getting too many calories or too few.
What Else Can You Do for Skin Allergies?
Feeding your dog a diet rich in skin-supporting ingredients is important, but there are also helpful ways to supplement its diet. Adding a little canned food to your dog’s routine can add moisture to its diet, and to its skin. Providing plenty of fresh drinking water is essential and supplementing your dog’s diet with healthy fatty acids like flaxseed oil or fish oil could be helpful as well.
In addition to choosing a healthy diet for your dog, you can also improve its skin allergies by giving it a bath with some kind of skin-soothing shampoo and conditioner. Natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe can sooth your dog’s itchy, irritated skin and help moisturize it so it can heal. After bathing, simply towel your dog dry instead of using a blow dryer because that could be too drying.
Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies: Summed Up
Choosing the best dog food for skin allergies can be tricky because it may not always be obvious which ingredient is causing your dog’s allergic reaction. The best thing you can do is choose a recipe made with novel protein and carbohydrate sources and feed it consistently until your dog’s symptoms resolve. From there you can introduce common allergens one at a time until you’ve identified the culprit or simply keep feeding your dog the recipe that works. To get started, try one of the best dog foods for skin allergies that we’ve reviewed above.